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As someone who is constantly trying to reduce expenses (in order to save more), I hate it when I have to part with a huge chunk of change to buy something, even when it’s something I need.
I also have a rule on the boat that says, if I buy something new, I have to get rid of something old. Sometimes this is a matter of just throwing said old thing away (like in the instance of a pair of shoes I recently threw out after getting a new pair), but sometimes, what you already have may still have some life in it.
In that case, it’s always a good idea to see if you can trade it in or sell it to help offset your costs on buying the new item.
Trade in your old phones and electronics
One great example of a way you can do this is with your cell phone or ipad. Depending on the model and condition of your phone, some carriers will buy your old phone back from you at a pretty decent price. They do this because they can turn around and refurbish them, then resell them at a profit.
I know people who just get new phones when they’re eligible, but still keep their old phones in a drawer, collecting dust until said phone becomes an antique (my husband still actually has his old Verizon flip phone from 2006 sitting in a box…). Why do that when you can get money for it?
I once got $100 back when I traded in my old phone from Best Buy, simply because I kept it in good condition (I always keep it in a case, and have a protective cover over the screen).
Even if your phone is old, or not in perfect shape, you can use a site like Gazelle, Glyde, or The iPhone Antidote to sell it. You can even buy a refurbished phone. For instance, if you have an old iPhone 5 laying around, you could get $50 for a 16GB in good condition, and even $5 or $10 for a broken iPhone (cracked screen, won’t power on, etc.). I just got $25 for an old iPhone 4 that was pretty antiquated by selling it on Glyde (no one else was accepting iPhone 4 phones).
And you’re not limited to phones. You can get rebates or refunds when you sell or trade in all kinds of other things, like computers, tablets, video games, guns, car batteries, and even boat parts, like this program which offers a $200 refund for return of a good core when you buy a new Evinrude lower unit.
Trade in your old books
One of my favorite things to trade in is books. While it’s not very lucrative, if you’re a voracious reader like I am, then it can pay off in simply getting more books. When we lived in Nashville, I took regular trips to McKay bookstore, armed with a handful of books. The staff would assess their needs and the condition of the books, then make me 2 offers. One cash offer (which was usually minimal), and one store-credit offer, which was usually 3X or more the cash offer. Because it was a used bookstore, the store credit allowed me to get at least as many new (to me) books, and not pay a dime. After I read them, I’d repeat the process.
If you’re on a boat and you’re not at a marina that has a good lending library (best thing ever!), you can also sell your books online, although you’re not likely to get much cash for them. My favorite place to sell off my old books is Bookscouter. Just enter the ISBN of the books you want to sell and they’ll return a list of offers from various bookstores, and you can take the best one. They even cover the shipping costs!
Finding deals like this can help offset the cost of a new item, while also reducing landfill waste. It also keeps your home or boat tidier.
So before you buy something new, see if there’s a trade-in program available. If there’s not, check to see if there’s a way to sell your old items back and put a little bit of that money back in your pocket.
Do you have any other examples of ways you can trade in or trade up? Have you used any of the examples in this post? Leave a comment below!
Never thought to go through my book shelves that’s a great idea! I’ve traded in old clothes to consignment shops and sold on craigslist. Great tips!
Hi Julie! Yes, books are often overlooked simply because they don’t bring much money in (at least most don’t), but if you trade them in for new books, the amount you could save can be pretty significant!
I’m a book nerd, so I love trading in books. Then I can buy more books 🙂
Hey Kristen – I’m glad I’m not the only one! You can never have enough books, I say. 🙂
Great ideas! Always looking for ways to feed the kitty ?
Hey Angela! Indeed, aren’t we all! 🙂 Every little bit helps, right? If anything, you could make enough off a few books to pay for Power Hour!
I am in the process of de-cluttering. This will be great for my books. I had never heard of Bookscouter. Very helpful. Thanks for the info!
Bookscouter is great! Most books won’t generate too much, but it’s still a way to get a few extra bucks here and there while decluttering!
I think I will try to trade in an old ipad.
Tara, that’s awesome. I’d love to know what you get for it!
I like the boatworks tip for buying boat parts – we have an old outboard and parts for it are hard to come by. thanks.
Susan, fantastic! I know sometimes there are chandleries that you can trade in and swap stuff out at, too, so hopefully you’ll be able to find some old parts as well as sell some old parts!
Melody, you write the best posts. Everyone is looking to declutter and make cash at the same time. I never trade in my phone because something ALWAYS happens to my new phone that I have to go back and use the old clunker until my 2 yrs are up to upgrade. But I am pretty klutzy! Lol. Love the book idea though. Thanks. We will be in Florida Dec 11-18. Where are you? PM me. ?
Shawnae! Thank you! I do the same thing with phones – we keep one as a backup in case one falls in the drink, or breaks (neither has ever happened, knock on wood), but now, we’re due for upgrades, so we’ll upgrade, and get rid of our old(er) phones, and keep one of our current phones as a backup.
It’s worth taking a look around your town for used bookstores, too – sometimes they’ll give you a little more than you’d get online for books.
Dec 11-18, we’ll likely be here in St. Petersburg. Where in FL will you be? I’d love to see you!
We’ve traded in computers at Best Buy several times. It keeps them out of the landfill, too, and every dollar toward the new purchase helps!
Hey Melissa! Exactly! Even if you have a really old cellphone lying around that you can’t get any money for, it’s good to recycle them. The lithium and chemicals in some electronics are bad for landfills, so by selling them back, it’s a win-win all around!
I am absolutely guilty of holding on to old phones. I think it’s for the photos and old conversations that didn’t used to transfer over to the new phones. I’m an emotional hoarder – but I’m getting better!
Hi Krystle! I hear you on that. I had an old phone that had texts from my mom on it, and when she passed away, I didn’t want to get rid of the phone for that reason. I ended up taking photos of the texts from a newer phone and transferring the photos to my computer. That way I still had them, and could ditch the old phone.
Luckily with the new phones, there are apps that you can use to pull all of your text messages off with, which not only helps you archive them, but it frees up a lot of space on your phone. 🙂
Sometimes I think I throw away to much. I give bags away all the time to goodwill and such and never get a receipt. Its amazing how much stuff we have that we really don’t need. We do have some old iPads laying around that don’t work that well. It would be nice to get something for them. The more we save, the faster we get the boat?
Hey Debbie! I do the same thing. It’s funny how we’re already on the boat, and about every 2-3 months, I go through and do a full sweep of things we don’t need. People don’t believe me when I say we’re on a 35′ boat and we actually have EMPTY cubbies! haha
You should definitely consider selling some of your old iPads if you’re not using them/they don’t work well. And like you said, every bit helps when you’re moving onto a boat! Hope you get your boat very soon!
Since I am not a full time liveaboard (yet!) I use the Facebook trading sites in my area to list items to try to sell, even just giveaways. I too have adopted the policy if I buy something then I must get rid of something. And if someone has given me something I know I can’t use, I try to give to someone who can use it if it can not be returned to store. Old phones I too hold on because of personal info which I never seem to get around to delete or reformat.
Hi Sandy! The Facebook trading sites can be a great way to get rid of things, too! Yes, it can be a pain to make the time to get stuff off of old phones, but how often do you ever go on there and look at what you’ve got on there anyway? 🙂 I say take an hour or two this weekend and just do it!
Have always traded in books. I also accept books as payment for an odd job I may do for someone in the anchorage, e.g fix steaming light = 2 trade in books!
Ruth, doing odd jobs in exchange for books – that’s a great idea! I love the idea of bartering, and the sailing community is one of those that’s so open to it, as we always need something, and we always have something someone else needs! 🙂
What good ideas! I have a lot of books, I’ll see if I can start a lending library at my marina and then trade in the rest.
Hi Jennifer! I love it that you’re going to try to start a lending library at your marina. When we get to a new marina that doesn’t have one, it’s such a bummer. I’m sure your fellow boaters will be thrilled!!
Heading over to check out Bookscouter right now! For the time being, we are spending half the year as liveaboards and half at our house. But….we need to start decluttering NOW so that at some point we can liveaboard full-time. Would be nice to make some cash in the process!
Also, we used to donate items to places like Salvation Army and Goodwill and I always kept of list (as well as photos) of EVERY single item donated and what condition it was in. If you are able to itemize deductions on your taxes, this can add up to a LOT more than you would think. Granted, it’s not immediate cash, but it’s still more in your pocket in the long run!
Hey Chris! Great tip on keeping photos/receipts when donating items. When we decluttered our house to move aboard, we donated a TON of stuff, and didn’t get a single receipt for it. (#doh!) We didn’t think the receipts would add up to enough to minimize our taxes, but next time, we’ll definitely get receipts.
And you’re right – it’s so much easier to start decluttering now than waiting until the last minute when you’re ready to jump on board full time! Good luck!
Love the bookscouter tip. I have shelves of books, a lot of which I’ll never read again. I have been reducing so a bunch have gone to Goodwill (and occasionally a trip to the used bookstore 1/2 hour away). If I can sell from home? super win!
We are also in the process of going through our overly large CD collection. We are transferring some to iTunes, but will take the lot to our CD Exchange music shop for whatever cash they will pay.
Karen – I didn’t even think about CD’s, and come to think of it, I have a huge box somewhere in my mother-in-law’s basement. Next time I visit, I may have to offload them all!
I’ve been downsizing my huge record/CD collection for a few years on Amazon and Discogs and, of course, yard sales. And other stuff on Etsy.
Nice to know about the sites for electronics and your other handy hints. Keep up the good work!
Thanks, Shaz! Great tip to offload vinyl and cd’s on Amazon!
I love this idea! I just actually sold my old books to Halfpricebooks. I am going to check out your recommendation for bookscouter to see if I can get better pricing on my next book sale. Thanks, I love reading your blog.
Hi Jill – thank you! I’ve never heard of Halfpricebooks, so I’ll have to check them out, too! (And thank you for reading along!)
Great ideas! We’re always looking for new ways to de-clutter. Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks, Christa! I’m a decluttering fool! 🙂
We’ve used eBay and Craigslist quite a bit to get rid of things we no longer need. It’s amazing how quickly it can add up while also decluttering! Such a win-win! I’m going to have to add Bookscouter and Gazelle to the list. Thanks for the great ideas!
You’re welcome, Julie! Thanks for stopping by!
I love your idea of taking store credit at a used bookstore when trading books in, getting more books, then repeating the process! FREE books! (sort of!)
I had good luck recently when I was going to sell my phone to a GameStop store (you can print out a quote from their website) but ended up mentioning the phone on facebook and four friends wanted or needed the phone. Made $200 on it which was what I paid for it originally on a deep discount.
Wow – that’s amazing, and much more than you probably would have gotten from GameStop! I should have tried that with one of our old phones (posting on FB).
I should add that I had a kitchen-aid mixer that was collecting dust. I’d used it twice in three years. Mentioned it in a quick facebook post and within minutes, I had an offer of $200 cash from a friend. I am not going to overwhelm my friends with postings of items for sale but twice recently it did work out to sell the items that way.